After years behind bars, and in the wake of support from three eye-opening documentaries by directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, and celebrity support and awareness from folks like Eddie Vedder, Johnny Depp and Henry Rollins, the West Memphis Three — Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin were finally freed this summer. Though technically still convicted of murder thanks to the Alford plea deal, the trio were helped in no small part by the quiet efforts of Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh who had for years been funding further investigations to help clear their names. And while the future is still a mystery for the WM3 at least one of them may get a taste of Hollywood.
Showbiz 411 is reporting that Damien Echols — who was on death row, locked-down for 23 hours each day — is making the most of his post-prison life. He’s inked a deal with Penguin to write a memoir that will hit stores in September 2012, and currently, he’s in New Zealand visiting Jackson and Walsh. What’s more, “there’s talk” that he’ll land a small role in “The Hobbit.” We could definitely see this happening, but we’d guess that it will be a very tiny appearance if he does find his way into the movie. But it would certainly be a nice gesture on behalf of both Jackson and Walsh to make that happen.
For now, you can keep up with the West Memphis Three saga when “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” hits HBO in early 2012. We recently caught up with the film at NYFF, and despite some minor quibbles with the approach by the directors, we found it to be “a triumphant tale of justice, forgiveness and healing.” Keep your eyes peeled for Echols in “The Hobbit” when the first part hits theaters on December 14, 2012.